Piedmontese menu for Christmas: recipes – Italian Cuisine

Russian salad, agnolotti and braised meat in Barolo: here are the traditional recipes signed by the starred chef Matteo Baronetto – Del Cambio, Turin

Never as during the Christmas period the table becomes the protagonist of the home and the family. From North to South Italy rites and traditions are repeated that have been part of places and people since time immemorial: there are those who celebrate Christmas Eve, those strictly on December 25 for lunch, those who dedicate themselves to the preparation of dishes with fish, who prefers meat. In many Italian regions, first courses based on stuffed pasta as in the case of Piedmont and its iconic agnolotti are inevitable. The Michelin chef knows it well Matteo Baronetto of the Del Cambio restaurant in Turin which has just come out with the volume "Contemporary Piedmontese cuisine"(Edt, 200 pp, 25 euros) in which he tells 45 recipes of the most authentic tradition.

Baronetto seeks a synthesis that has never been tried: to codify today's Piedmontese cuisine, which respects the past but intertwines it with the present and does so together with the photographer's shots Davide Dutto. After all, Baronet knows what it means to confront history: since 2014 he has been running the restaurant founded in 1757 in Turin, the one preferred by Camillo Benso Count of Cavour, one of the historic places in the city, an address that has been able to place the classic room side by side with the one conceived by Michelangelo Pistoletto, ancient recipes and today's sensitivity. “The value of Piedmontese cuisine – he comments – lies in the memory: this is one of the Italian areas where tradition is handed down in the kitchen, where you live and eat; Piedmont is a conservative region at the table and the culture of food is very important ".

Russian salad, agnolotti and braised meat: the advice of chef Baronetto

What then are the dishes symbol of Christmas according to Baronet? Russian salad, Agnolotti and Braised with Barolo: we understand why.

"The Russian salad reminds me of when I worked at Peck's in Milan – he comments – and during the holidays it was one of the dishes that people queued for. Here, as in the case of agnolotti, it is always on the menu: it is a dish that symbolizes family, the warmth of the home and to which I am very attached ". The secret to making it perfect? “Cut the vegetables very small in order to chew less and allow the mayonnaise to be more enveloping. The vegetables are then blanched after being cut, while for the mayonnaise I suggest preparing it with whole egg and not just with red ".

As for the agnolotti it is essential that the pasta is not too thick and it would be better if the size was no more than 2.5 centimeters. “We must always remember – he adds – that it is important to roast the meat that will be used for the filling well, so that the juices remain inside. I prefer not to keep it too moist, on the contrary I braise it to prevent it from being boiled, and then to prepare the filling I recommend cutting it by hand because blending it runs the risk of obtaining a homogenized product ". Important then is the broth: "It starts with cold water so that the meat releases its scents. Then add the vegetables, the parmesan crust that gives flavor, the white brisket, the beef, the chicken, the salt and let it simmer for a couple of hours. After having foamed it, if the color of the broth is too light, you can add some jus de Paris: water and sugar in the proportion of 3 liters to 150 grams ".

And now let's move on to braised for which a long cooking is necessary: ​​“It should be marinated in the fridge, in wine, for one night, then it is heated over the fire and browned. The next step – continues Baronet – is to dip it again in the wine and then cover it with a little broth and then cook it in the oven for about two hours adding the vegetables. When you see that the stock is starting to consume, it is a good idea to remove a few tablespoons of it so that you can use it on the sliced ​​slices before serving ".

Matteo Baronetto's Christmas recipes

Russian salad

Ingredients for 4 people:
300 g of mayonnaise
280 g of potatoes
100 g of carrots
100 g of tuna in oil
10 g of desalted capers
70 g of shelled peas

For the mayonnaise
1 medium egg (50/60 g)
600 ml of sunflower oil
8 ml of white vinegar
4 g fine salt

Prepare the mayonnaise with the help of a mixer or electric whisk, starting with the egg, vinegar and salt and pouring the oil in a thin stream while the mixer is running at medium speed. This dose has a good amount of oil so it is necessary to use an appliance, if you want to do it by hand just decrease the amount of oil.
Peel the potatoes and carrots and cut them into regular pea-sized cubes.
Cook potatoes and carrots separately in boiling salted water; blanch the peas which, if large, will need to be removed from the outer skin.
Allow the vegetables to cool, combine all the ingredients and add salt to taste.


Ingredients for 10 people:

For pasta
1 kg of flour 000
350 g of durum wheat semolina
6 medium eggs
13 yolks
125 ml of extra virgin olive oil
125 ml of water
15 g of salt
For the stuffing
500 g of Bra sausage
1 kg of fresh bacon
1.75 kg of tender veal
3 carrots
3 sticks of green celery
3 medium white onions
White wine
250 g of washed fresh spinach
extra virgin olive oil

For pasta
Mix the eggs, oil, salt and water with the flour and semolina arranged in a heap.
Mix perfectly, let the dough rest covered in a cool place.

For the filling
Generally these ravioli are prepared on Mondays with the cold leftovers of Sunday roasts and stews of which care is taken to preserve the cooking sauces. Here instead you will find a filling recipe made especially for the ravioli in question.
Clean the vegetables and cut them into mirepoix (diced).
Divide the meat into large, regular cubes to facilitate cooking.
Heat a large saucepan, preferably large and low, and stew celery, carrots and onions with extra virgin olive oil.
In a non-stick pan with hot extra virgin olive oil, roast the soft cheese and the pancetta, then add the vegetables in the saucepan and deglaze with the wine; let the alcohol evaporate then cover with a lid and cook over a very low heat for about two and a half hours.
Add the spinach and the sausage divided into pieces, finish cooking.
Let it all cool down and go through the meat grinder.

How to make agnolotti
Roll out the dough with a rolling pin into thin sheets.
Dose the filling in small mounds on the first sheet – with a teaspoon or a pastry bag -, taking care to maintain regular intervals, depending on the size we want to give to the agnolotti.
Lay the second sheet on top and, with your fingers, make it adhere between one mound and the other and at the edges, being careful not to trap air that would make them explode during cooking.
Cut the agnolotti into a square shape with a toothed wheel.
Cook the agnolotti in boiling salted water and serve them with your favorite sauce.

The chef's advice: tradition has it that the agnolotti are served with roast sauce, sage butter and Parmesan, meat sauce or in meat broth and, in some Monferrato towns, even with red wine. Piedmontese stuffed pasta has a thicker layout than the very thin ones typical of Emilia and Romagna, this is due to the poverty in the yolks of the pasta. The Piedmontese sheets are therefore much less resistant and elastic and this does not allow them to be thinned as much as those from Emilia or Romagna.

Braised in Barolo

Ingredients for 5 people:
1 priest's hat (or parts of the thigh with a lot of collagen and fat)
3 medium white onions
3 carrots
4 sticks of celery
2 cloves of garlic
Herbs to taste (bay leaf, rosemary, sage …)
Spices to taste (pepper, juniper, cloves …)
Extra virgin olive oil
1 bottle of good Barolo
Meat background

Wash and cut the vegetables into mirepoix, melt the minced lard in a pan of the right size with the garlic and butter, then add the vegetables and leave to dry.
In a separate, very hot pan, pour the oil and brown the meat, when well colored, place it with the vegetables, remove the browning oil from the meat and pour a part of the wine into the pan so as not to waste the "caramelized" juices deposited on the bottom of the pan; pour all the wine into the pan, wait for the alcoholic part to evaporate, keeping it on a high flame, then add the aromatic bunch containing the herbs and spices.
Lower the heat and cook for about two and a half hours (depending on the size of the piece) leaving the pan "on the edge of the stove", taking care to turn it every twenty minutes, and in the last twenty minutes of cooking, continue to sprinkle it with its sauce cooking. If the liquid dries excessively, add some hot broth. It is important that the meat is cooked evenly, continuously and without sudden changes in temperature in a constant sweet simmer.
Then serve in slices, sprinkling with the filtered sauce reduced to the right consistency, tastefully arranged and polished with a flake of butter.

Matteo Baronetto (ph A Moretti)

This recipe has already been read 336 times!

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